Community members rally to help save Cleveland’s Shaker Square

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CLEVELAND (WJW) -Shaker Square is an iconic part of Cleveland and residents rallied Monday night to help save it.

The community stood together in the cold in a show of support of Cleveland City Council legislation that would provide aid to Shaker Square.

According to Jay Westbrook with the Shaker Square Alliance, the legislation would use Cleveland’s federal pandemic relief funds to save Shaker Square from foreclosure.

“The pandemic, on top of the housing foreclosure crisis, has taken on a toll on Shaker Square. It needs a refresh, a reboot,” said Westbrook.

Westbrook said it would consist of a $6 million loan, plus a $6 million grant. He said the money would pay off the current owner’s mortgage and transfer the Square to Cleveland Neighborhood Progress
and New Village Corporation.

“I have 11 years in Shaker Square as an investor, as a business owner and operator. We need the city’s help.  Just like the west side gets their help, downtown gets all their help,” said Akin Affica, a businessman.

According to the alliance, there are more than 40 merchants that make the four quadrants of Shaker Square.

“The reason I started this school in Shaker Square is because it gathered neighborhoods from all around,” said Jill Evans, with Goldenrod Montessori.

Westbrook said the legislation is before city council, however any decision will most likely not come before the end of the current term.

“We have a high level of confidence that early next year, with the new mayor and new city council president, we will get this legislation done,” said Westbrook.

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